Sure didn’t take long for MySpace to join the OpenSocial frat party.
A day after Google introduced OpenSocial, an effort to provide a set of common APIs that will allow multiple social networking sites to write applications, MySpace said it is joining the movement.
Officially, MySpace is a founding member of OpenSocial, and will provide “critical user mass and platform guidance,” for the OpenSocial community. Indeed, MySpace is offering a network of 110 million users, more than doubling OpenSocial’s initial tally of 100 million social network users.
This network also includes Bebo, Engage.com, Friendster, hi5, Hyves, imeem, LinkedIn, mixi, MySpace, Ning, Oracle, orkut, Plaxo, Salesforce.com, Six Apart, Tianji, Viadeo and XING.
Developers can start writing applications for OpenSocial here tonight.
“Our partnership with Google allows developers to gain massive distribution without unnecessary specialized development for every platform,” said MySpace CEO and co-founder Chris DeWolfe in a statement. “This is about helping the startup spend more time building a great product rather than rebuilding it for every social network.”
MySpace’s involvement with OpenSocial is no surprise, and was more of a question of when than of why. MySpace is the big daddy of social networking sites. Why wouldn’t Google want MySpace to join as it seeks to fight Facebook’s develop-for-one platform only approach?
Throw in that DeWolfe fessed up to planning to open up its developer platform at the Web 2.0 Summit two weeks ago and that should answer your questions. MySpace said its involvement in OpenSocial is the first glimpse of technical details for the forthcoming MySpace Platform.
Google needs MySpace to make OpenSocial work and to vault past the more than 7,000 applications already built on Facebook. MySpace needs Google and OpenSocial to keep from getting overtaken by Facebook, which is growing at a torrid pace.
So, why didn’t we hear about this yesterday when Google talked to everyone who asked about OpenSocial?
Well, that’s because the OpenSocial news wasn’t supposed to go live until midnight tonight, but the cat was let out of the bag yesterday.
Indeed, a Google spokesperson told me this was part of a series of announcements Google is “making around our development program including OpenSocial tonight.”
From a PR standpoint, another Google-MySpace union, following the agreement that made Google MySpace’s ad provider, is even bigger than the announcement of OpenSocial itself, which is no doubt why Google PR issued a separate release for it.
Flash back to this time last week: Google took it on the chin when Microsoft hijacked headlines by taking a $240 million stake in, and extending its online ad position internationally with Facebook.
By allying with MySpace, Google is positioning for a larger battle. It’s no longer Google battling Microsoft or Facebook fighting MySpace, but Google and MySpace versus Microsoft and Facebook for the next battle ground: socially targeted advertising.